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Staying Connected: Cable Toughness, Reliability Wanted

And with plenty of bandwidth

Gepco V-CON Series There are limits to how far you can send a video image over a cable before the signal degrades. But users want longer and longer runs, and they have more and more HD video in more and more rugged environments, from digital signage and high-end AV to surveillance.

“We’re in a media-centric world, so customers need their video,” said Jim Jachetta, senior vice president of engineering and product development for MultiDyne Video and Fiber Optic Systems. “They want hi-res video in the lobby, conference room, they want to teleconference in HD.”

While manufacturers keep pushing the limits on distance and capacity over copper, the greater advances are in other aspects of performance: ruggedness, smooth connections and smarter networking.

“We’ve had to come up with special tactical more durable, versions of those cables for those applications,” said Scott Fehl, product manager at Gepco International. “That’s what they’re demanding. They want four channels, or multiple Cat5s or fibers, or fiber-with-copper [or] special hybrids.”

Belden plenumrated RG-11 coaxial Steve Lampen, Multimedia Technology Manager of Belden, said some AV installers aren’t sure what cabling to select, in part because they don’t know all that’s available. Plus, there’s a huge range of products, and the correct product depends on the installer’s priority—signal quality, ruggedness or price? Does the cable also need to be rated for fire safety?

Here are some of the cabling (and fiber-optic) highlights from the 2009 NAB Show and beyond.

BLACKMAGIC DESIGN unveiled its Mini Converter Optical Fiber, which simultaneously converts from SDI to optical fiber and from optical fiber to SDI, amd instantly switches among all SD, HD and 3Gbps formats and allows fiber lengths up to 45 km-all at less than $500. It teams with the new HDLink Optical Fiber, a monitoring solution for DVI and HDMI displays with both regular 3Gbps SDI and 3Gbps optical fiber connections for SD, HD and 2K full-resolution monitoring.

GEPCO INTERNATIONAL introduced its V-CON Connector System, designed to withstand the harsh environments of outdoor broadcast, mobile production and staging applications. V-CON connectors feature an all-metal body, locking set-screw, and integrated cord grip in a weather-tight design. The 3 GHz coaxial elements are constructed from stainless steel and 50u gold-plated contacts to prevent corrosion and ensure long mating life. Through a configurable insert, the V-CON connectors are available in three- to six-channel versions, as well as 10-, 12- or 16-channel versions.


Neutrik opticalCON QUAD triple-split 12-channel fiber-optic connector makes pipelines, in effect, for all manner of video production, starting right at the camera. Among its new offerings at NAB, it introduced its CopperHead INF camera-mounted fiber-optic transceiver for the Thomson Grass Valley Infinity camcorder. It also added to its Viper line of modular signal transport hubs with the new Mini-Mussel Shell Series of universal enclosures that can provide customizable, portable fiber-optic solutions. They come in single-, two- or four-module sizes with features including integral optical power metering, system LED indicators and several powering options.

BELDEN showed its plenum-rated RG-11 precision digital video coaxial cable (Product No 7732LL). It offers significant performance enhancements over Belden’s previous plenum-rated version, especially when deployed in long cable runs for high definition video or 1080p/60 applications-meeting the performance of its equivalent non-plenum offering.

In the fiber world, MULTIDYNE introduced its HD-3500 Series HD-SDI/audio/data fiber-optic transport link, cranking multi-rate signals through from 5 Mbps up to 3 Gbps plus two AES or four audio feeds, bidirectional data and two return audio paths over a single fiber. It comes in two models, supporting either the SMPTE 424M 3G HD-SDI standard or the SMPTE 292M 1.485G HD-SDI standard.

The company also joined Ross Video’s openGear platform standard, which gives users an open architecture so they can select products from several manufacturers in one control system.

The company’s new DVI-6000 Series is a fiber-optic transport solution for uncompressed high-quality, DVI signals up to WQXGA resolution of 2560×1600.

In addition to its AluLight series of lightweight aluminum connectors, FISCHER showed its Connector Series HDTV 1053TM fiber-optic camera connector. It’s is SMPTE signal-compliant and field installable with a superior locking mechanism, lowcost repair kit and termination with simple hand tools, able to withstand daily production environment abuse. The Fischer Connector Series HDTV 1052TM mates with standard Triax connectors. It promotes picture integrity by protecting sensitive signals from RFI interference with integral shielding with the connector body, and by routing signals through contacts plated with a minimum of 1 µm of gold.

CLARK WIRE & CABLE‘s new modular box, the ModBox, is a complete SMPTE modular box with eight modules. The modules in the ModBox are already assembled and easy to remove and replace in less than one minute. Because of the difficulty of assembling a similar SMPTE box, Clark has assembled this prewired SMPTE box, saving the unnecessary downtime. Also, this box has a removable side panel to access the inside of the module and each module has a designation strip located horizontally across the top of the module.

NEUTRIK introduced the opticalCON QUAD, a four-channel version of its opticalCON ruggedized fiber-optic connector system. Designed for multichannel point-topoint cabling applications, it’s IP65-rated for dust and water jet protection. It comes in three variations including four-channel, four-channel X-treme and triple-split 12-channel assemblies. It’s available with four- or 12-channel mobile field cables.

The triple-split 12-channel cable features three opticalCON-4 connectors on both ends, allowing standardized four-channel connectivity for multichannel point-to-point cabling.

CENTRONICS launched its Elite HD-branded DHCT5 2×1 Cat5e-to-HDMI converter ($299). It automatically switches between the devices via simplex switching technology and allows the conversion of two HDMI devices to be run over a single Cat5e cable. That not only solves the problem of having only a single Cat5e wire, but it works as a switcher as well.

The DHCT5 extends 1080i/720p up to 200 feet and 1080p/1920×1200 up to 100 feet, is HDMI 1.3 and HDCP compliant and compensates for cable skew.

WIREWORKS brought end-to-end fiber solutions complete with interface panels, equipment cables and military-grade field cables ready for integration into applications based on the Neutrik opticalCON DUO connectors. These include uniquely designed panels for hub and remote interconnects, securely combining the opticalCON DUOs in two-core field cables, four-core Y-split cables, hybrid cables, SMPTE cables and more.

Wireworks Fiber Solution panels are delivered complete with chassis connectors and appropriate fiber cables for connection to fiber-enabled equipment.